The Best of the Best – Djurgården

Some of my favorite museums were on the archipelago of Djurgården, a former military base for the Swedish army. Djurgården is home to some of the best museums in Stockholm, as well as the amusement park Gröna Lund! Here is a rundown of some of my favorite Stockholm activities.

The first museum I went to on Djurgården was the Vasa Museet (~$17). I had seen it in travel shows about Stockholm, but I was still a little skeptical of how the whole museum was just centered around one military ship. I ended up loving the museum and even visiting a second time! A military ship that set sail on its maiden voyage in 1628, the Vasa was ornately decorated and intended to strike fear into any opposing nations. Instead, it floated about 30 minutes out from the dock, then sank in minutes. From analysis years later, they found that the ship was too top-heavy, with not enough weight in the ballast to balance it out. The museum has a 17 minute film that runs in 3-4 different languages for visitors to watch, and it describes the process of the ship sinking, being raised in 1961, then being preserved and shown in the museum. To this day, the ship is 98% preserved, with the museum highlighting some of its ongoing efforts, such as replacing iron bolts with stainless steel bolts. The museum has many different levels, each with different themes: life on board, statues, general history, weapons, and more. The Vasa Museet is definitely a must-see in Stockholm!

I also visited the Viking Museum on Djurgården (~$15). It is much smaller and has less exhibits, but a guided tour is included in your ticket with a guide dressed in chainmail! This museum was interactive, with many short films to watch, fabrics to touch, and an area to learn how to write your name in ancient text! The most exciting part of this museum is the 11-minute ride that takes you through the story of a Viking trying to capture and bring back silver to his family. This ride has fun special effects and makes the whole experience a lot more fun.

I grew up listening to ABBA, so naturally I had to visit the ABBA Museum (~$22)! This museum was very high on my Stockholm bucket list. Immediately upon walking in, you’re greeted with ABBA’s top hits and the gift shop. After walking down the stairs to the museum, you walk through the histories of each of the band members and how they came to know each other. Throughout the museum, their outfits, videos of them singing, journal entries, and more are on display. The museum is very interactive, with one exhibit where you can try to mix their music how their DJ did! There’s also makeshift recording studios, where my friend Rachel and I sang our hearts out. There’s also a stage where you can go up and dance with holograms of the ABBA members, which was also really fun! After those sections, there’s an area for their costumes and awards, then an exhibit on their more recent lives and accomplishments.

I visited Skansen twice this semester, once for the Valborg bonfire, and a second time to look around. Skansen is an outdoor museum/zoo, and when I went, there were many families and kids wandering around. Skansen has a stunning lookout over the water, and the maps really help you navigate the area. I saw many animals, like gray seals, bears, baby bison, and more! Skansen definitely could’ve taken up a full day; there’s many different activities and places to explore. It’s also just a great place to people watch and relax for a bit. There were exhibits for Nordic animals, an aquarium, a Pan-African animals exhibit, and more!

Last up for my Djurgården favorites is Gröna Lund amusement park! I was lucky enough to go with the DIS Student Media Team for free. DIS covered the costs for entry, rides, some food, and a 5-game challenge. The games were traditional arcade games, like where you throw balls into a bucket or play whack-a-mole. Gröna Lund is famous for its fun rollercoasters and rides that overlook the beautiful Stockholm archipelago. My day at Gröna Lund was one of my favorites of the semester. I had an incredible time, even though I don’t consider myself much of a rollercoaster person! My favorite rollercoaster was called Monster, and the view it had from the top was absolutely stunning.

Djurgården ended up being one of my favorite places in Stockholm: the energy, museums, and Gröna Lund all combined to make it a lovely place no matter the time of day. I will definitely miss it a lot. ❤

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